In type 1 diabetes, the body can’t make insulin. Insulin is needed to help glucose enter cells for energy. Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. This causes high blood glucose or high blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes may also be known as:
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the U.S. Type 1 diabetes most often develops in children or young adults, but can start at any age.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. It’s thought that genetic and environmental factors are involved.
The body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin lets glucose to enter the cells for energy. When glucose can’t enter the cells, it builds up in the blood. This deprives the cells of nutrition. It also results in high blood sugar. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin shots and regularly check their blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly. Symptoms may include:
In children, symptoms may be similar to those of having the flu.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes may look like other conditions or health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. It is best for the tests to be repeated on a second day to make sure of the diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need daily shots of insulin to keep your blood sugar level in normal ranges. Other parts of treatment may include:
Research is underway to find better ways to manage diabetes. This includes looking for other way to take insulin such as through inhalers, pills, or pumps. Researchers have also identified some genetic markers for type 1 diabetes. Pancreas and islet cell transplants are considered experimental treatment.
Type 1 diabetes may cause the following:
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